Many weather experts predict a destructive disaster season this year. The American Red Cross needs volunteers to help on the ground in the face of a busy disaster season and blood donors to roll up a sleeve to maintain a stable blood supply in the face of emergencies.
“We’re preparing for another extremely busy disaster season, and it’s critical to have a trained, ready volunteer workforce to make sure we can provide relief at a moment’s notice,” said Katie Webster, Regional Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross Minnesota and Dakotas Region. “This year’s wildfire season is already very active and dangerous because of the severe drought and dry woodlands across the west. And experts are predicting we could see 10 or more hurricanes in the upcoming weeks.”
SHELTER VOLUNTEERS AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS NEEDED
The Red Cross needs new volunteers to support disaster shelters. Volunteers will help with reception, registration, food distribution, dormitory, information collection and other vital tasks inside disaster shelters.
The Red Cross also needs volunteers who can work in disaster shelters to address people’s health needs and provide hands-on care in alignment with their professional licensure (registered nurse and licensed practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse). Daily observation and health screening for COVID-19-like illness among shelter residents may also be required. If you are an RN, LPN, LVN, APRN, NP, EMT, paramedic, MD/DO or PA with a current and unencumbered license, this position could be right for you.
After most disasters this year, the Red Cross plans to open group shelters. However, in some communities, hotels may be more appropriate if the risk of COVID-19, including the delta variant, is particularly high. The Red Cross will also continue many of the safety precautions implemented in 2020, including masks, health screenings, enhanced cleaning procedures and encouraging social distancing.
DISASTER ACTION TEAM MEMBER
Local Disaster Action Teams provide 24-hour emergency response to local disasters, particularly home fires, ensuring that those affected have access to resources for basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing. If you are team-oriented and want to help your neighbor, the DAT responder may be just the thing for you.
Since January 1, the Minnesota and Dakotas Region has provided immediate emergency assistance to 2,400 people after more than 670 disasters, mostly home fires.
If you want to make a difference and are interested in helping your community should a disaster occur here at home or across the country, please start your volunteer journey today at redcross.org/mndaks.
BLOOD AND PLATELET DONORS NEEDED
Wildfires, record-breaking heat and a busy hurricane season can also impact the nation’s blood supply. On top of the toll extreme weather events take on the lives of millions, disasters can cause blood drive closures or prevent donors from being able to give safely. Eligible donors can help overcome the critical need for blood and ensure blood is readily available by making an appointment to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device.
As a thank-you, those who come to donate throughout the month of August will get a free 4-month special offer to Apple Music by email (new subscribers only). Details are available at RedCrossBlood.org/FeelTheBeat.
About blood donation
To donate blood, individuals need to bring a blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification that are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age in most states (16 with parental consent where allowed by state law), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also must meet certain height and weight requirements.
Donors can also save up to 15 minutes at the blood drive by completing a RapidPass®. With RapidPass®, donors complete the pre-donation reading and health history questionnaire online, on the day of donation, from a mobile device or computer. To complete a RapidPass®, follow the instructions at RedCrossBlood.org/RapidPass or use the Red Cross Blood Donor App.
In most cases, those who have received a COVID-19 vaccine can donate. However, knowing the name of the manufacturer of the vaccine they received is important in determining donation eligibility.
Blood drive safety
Each Red Cross blood drive and donation center follows the highest standards of safety and infection control, and additional precautions – including face masks for donors and staff, regardless of vaccination status – have been implemented to help protect the health of all those in attendance. Donors are asked to schedule an appointment prior to arriving at the drive.